Strange Folk Wrap up: The Not-So Good

As I've said I had I was happy with how the weekend went for the most part but there were a few things I would have changed looking back. One thing that I had no control over was where I was located. When I first found out I was going to be in the Big Tent rather than the Pavilion I was disappointed. You roll with the punches and make the best out of what you are given, and honestly I'm really just glad that I made it into Strange Folk again with all of the entries that they are getting.

If I had been under the Pavilion as last year I would not have had to deal with all of the mud and I wouldn't have taken such a hit on Saturday with the rain. All the shoppers ran to the Pavilion when it started and a lot of business was going on under there while we were all huddled under our tents. The positive side was that I think I had more room to spread out where I was and I didn't get claustrophobic like I did last year when all the crowds were coming through the narrow lanes in the Pavilion.

I was never really happy with how my table looked all weekend long either. I went ahead and used both of the shelving displays and I think it looked too busy and crowded. I didn't sell that much off of the larger display and I wonder if it was because people were overwhelmed by all of the colors and prints going on. I'm going to have to do some experimenting before the next show and figure out what I'm going to use and what is not going to cut it. Mike thinks I need to shelve the shelving units entirely. He says I should get some sort of rack or wall bracket system to hang things from. The booth really is always a work in progress so we shall see.

The other negative came at the very end of the second day. I was absolutely exhausted and somewhat vulnerable. I was hoping for one last good sale to get me to last year's numbers when a women ran up and started working me over. She asked if I would take $30 for 3 scarves, which are normally priced $15 a piece. I said how about $35 and she hands me $30 and a few singles and says that's all I have. I tentatively said okay and she started grabbing. She ended up walking away with 3 very nice scarves and I felt like I'd been taken. I really wasn't prepared despite the stories I've been told about how people can be at shows. I'm used to people going on about how reasonable my scarves are and was not ready for someone to try to completely low ball me. I should have said "I'm sorry but the prices are as marked and I do take credit cards if you are interested." As I said I was in a weakened state.

To be fair if handled properly it's not a terrible thing to ask for a discount. Earlier in the day a women had waited until my booth was completely clear and approached me about taking a few dollars off a scarf. I had only spent $1 or so on the yarn in this item so I was OK with it and we were both perfectly happy with the transaction.

So I've shared the good, now the bad, and here's a little ugly. These are my poor, swollen, achy feet after day 1 with the lovely backdrop of the cheap hotel bedspread.

Strange Folk Wrapup: The Good

I'm going to break the wrap up from Strange Folk into 2 parts. The good and the not-so good. Today will just be my observations about the weekend so I will probably ramble on a bit. There were definitely some things that I learned from this experience and that's what I'll talk about tomorrow. I'm certainly no expert on shows as I've only been doing them part time for a few years. I do like to share what I learn here so that I don't forget it and so that others can learn from what I do both right and wrong.

I really never got a good shot of the whole booth display. I took pictures both mornings after I set up but the sun was always either too bright or not bright enough. This is from the first morning. When I got there I was in a total tizzy because I couldn't figure out how I was going to configure my booth to fit both quilt racks. About 30 minutes into set up I looked up and saw the other vendors setting up facing outwards not inwards into the tent. Oops. No wonder they were all looking at me like I was overreacting.

This is why I always get there well over an hour before it starts, with plenty of time to get things set up right. So I turned my table around and placed the racks outside of the tent in such a way to draw people in with the bamboo rug as a nice balance. I liked this overall configuration. I sat my stool next to the table not behind it, so that I could come out and talk to people and hold the mirror for them. I was never really happy with my table displays but I will talk about that tomorrow.

I had the sweetest booth neighbors I've ever had in every sense of the word. Sarah and her mom from The Hot Cookie were such a treat to hang out with for the weekend. When I needed a pick me up a great trade was made, cookies for a headband, you can't beat that. Her cookies really are amazing and she sells them on Etsy here. Mike's favorite was the Lemon Tarragon Sables and mine was the chocolate with oats. They each bought a scarf from me and wore them proudly sending customers my way.

Kai was such a great helper this weekend. This was my first show that I had any help since my first one that I did with friends. It made such a huge difference. If you have an agreeable friend, spouse, or teenager I highly recommend it. He took his responsibilities very seriously. His main job was to make sure that no scarves were touching the ground since we were outside and there was a great deal of mud after all the rain. He restocked after things sold and made sure the display was in place. He was also a great help during what he called the Cabbage Patch Kid moments when 4 or more women were in the booth in a frenzy. These were the good times that customers were trying everything on, throwing things to each other, and "fighting" over scarves.

It was so nice to be able to walk away occasionally and not worry about things walking away from the booth. He gave me this update when I came back from one bathroom break. "I explained about the scarflettes to the lady and she liked that one but she didn't think it would match her coat." For some reason I found this exchange cute. He took lots of pictures with his new camera and we traded for some art with one of the vendors nearby.

Staying at the hotel on Saturday night was a good decision even if their wi-fi wasn't working and Mike spent most of the evening complaining. Mike hung out with his brother and Brian most of the time that he was there. He did give me one good suggestion. I was complaining that things weren't moving on Sunday morning and he told me to get more things on the racks. I had decided to just put out $15 scarves on Sunday and a few $30 ones on the table since the lower end was what was moving on Saturday. I had kept it nice and neat but they were beginning to look bare which was not drawing people in as much. Once I put more out I got lots more interest as they was more selection to choose from.

He also entertained some people with his commentary. At one point before he left on Sunday he cracked up a woman who overheard him say that part of his soul had just died from boredom. Luckily she was a fellow vendor and he didn't offend a customer with his sarcasm.

I don't know if I will ever be able to get Mike to come back but I do think that Kai would help again with the proper amount of incentive, i.e. bribery. By the time he is too old/cool to spend the weekend hanging out with his aunt, Ani should be old enough to make a good helper. She and her Dad, Gandolf the Grateful Dead, came out on Saturday and had a good time despite the rain.

Overall it was a successful and fun event. Strange Folk really is my target audience in every sense of the word. The free spirits get me and my aesthetic and I love being a part of it all. The other vendors are such amazing artists and with the music and other activities I always come away so inspired. I also came away with a box of yarn from the Upcycle Exchange and nothing beats free yarn.


Oh the Strangeness!

Well, I'm home. I'm tired, dirty, and achy but it's all good. I'll give a full update tomorrow but I thought I would share a few pictures tonight. Above is a little taste of the booth in action. Below is a taste of Saturday afternoon with a shot of one of the booths across from me trying to keep warm and dry. We had wind all morning and then over an hour of steady hard rain. It definitely put a damper on sales but it picked up again with a flurry right before we closed. Today was nice and sunny, too sunny in my opinion. No one was trying on the heavier scarves or scarflettes. Despite the weather fluctuations I made just about what I did last year at the festival so I'm happy about that. At the bottom is a picture our friends Brian and Sandy with their too cute daughter Sophie checking out the booth.


Strange Folk Here I Come!


I've got just about everything ready to go. I just need to pack up the car and get a good night's sleep. That is easier said than done, getting a good night's sleep that is. I always have tons of manic energy right before a show. I'm fine once I get set up but until then I'll be a nervous wreck.

If you are coming by this weekend I'll be in the Big Tent towards the middle of the vendors, not in the pavilion like I was last year. My sister in law, Gray Eyed Scorpio, will be near the music stage, and be sure to check out the author's booth and get a copy of my friend Brian's Young Adult novel, Playing With Matches signed.

I got my hair done today so that I would look presentable. Here is the lovely shot I just took. I also went to Good Will. My twin had just been there again and I snagged 4 pair of pants and 6 tops all Lane Bryant or other favorite brands. I think I've decided to wear the two new shirts below. Yes, I know they are both tie-dye but they are nice and it is Strange Folk after all. They also happen to match the two scarves that I had already set aside to wear this weekend. Kismet I believe.

There will be a blogging station at the festival but I don't know if I will have time to do a post or not. I'll probably be lucky to get a tweet or two in. I'll update on Sunday night and will hopefully have lots of interesting stories to tell.



So I've had a weird but relatively productive week so far. When we lost power on Monday we also lost our Dish receiver and DVR. We have already gotten a new one but that means all of our recorded movies and shows are lost. I had some great PBS specials, the presidential inauguration speech, and lots of other shows on there. It's like 2 years of our lives were erased. That last bit might have been a bit overly dramatic but you get the idea. And then tonight I had to set all our timers again. I'm sure I forgot some which worries me more than it should. I felt so tied down to the television the past few days too. Seriously I know I need to get over it but DVR has just so revolutionized the way we live.

And on to more important subjects. I got everything tagged for the Strange Folk Festival yesterday and today. The 4 stuffed to the brim tubs are in the picture above. I spent over 2 hours trying to figure out how to do a mail merge in publisher from an excel spread sheet but I failed. I ended up taking the easy way out but I'm okay with it. Instead of listing each item individually on the inventory sheet I'm going to divide by type. Meaning I have an inventory number for $15 wool blend scarves, $15 synthetic blends, $15 cotton blends, $30 wool, etc. I will then just have to keep track of how many I have sold from each of the groups. It will work for my Rock and Roll Craft Show inventory which was the main priority. I don't think I mentioned that I went ahead and applied and did get into this one. I did not get into the Indie Underground show that is going on downtown during Fashion Week but I'm a bit relieved actually. I was sort of worried about the logistics of that one even though it did sound really cool.

I spent the afternoon today with Kai. We had some great Indian buffet and got to go birthday camera shopping. He was off for parent/teacher conferences which worked out nicely. We ended up getting him a cute little Samsung TL100. I didn't even know that they made cameras and it was not one of the ones that I had researched, but it was the one that made his heart sing which was most important. He used his birthday money and I paid for the rest. He was so excited and couldn't wait to get it charged up. I hope he takes lots of interesting pictures with it.

Speaking of interesting pictures, or at least speaking of pictures. Here is a shot I took in the front yard during the momentous power outage. As I mentioned I was bored. At least I'm not posting the pictures of my eye ball and toes. Be thankful for small favors. Oh and can someone please stop the rain dance. We need some dry weather for the weekend, I'm getting nervous.


My craft Show Checklist

I've seen other checklists of what you should bring to craft shows but I decided to create my own. As I was sitting in the dark last night for almost 4 hours I wrote out my ideas. Our street is always the first to lose power in a storm and the last to get it back for some reason. The checklist was the only productive thing I got done last night. I messed around on my cell phone, played with my camera, walked around the front yard and annoyed Mike as much as possible.

I just listed the Zen Rainbow scarf the other day but I'm getting tempted to keep it and wear it to the show. Be sure to wear your items if appropriate to show people how cool they look on.

So here is what I came up with as the absolute necessities for any craft show or festival.

  1. Directions. Sounds obvious but I'm always nervous the morning of so I don't want to trust my memory even if I think I know where I'm going.
  2. Vendor information. The organizer will usually e-mail you info like your booth number and parking directions that you will want to have that day.
  3. Lots of business cards.
  4. A little basket or business card holder of some sort so they don't blow away.
  5. inventory list with prices. I'm really going to try this year to mark off items as they sell.
  6. notebook. I like to keep a running tally of how much I've made. Be sure to keep track somehow of how much you make so that you can pay sales tax.
  7. E-mail sign in sheet. I'm still deciding what I'm going to use for this, probably some sort of notebook.
  8. Shoe box to store all the little things I'm about to list.
  9. tape
  10. pens
  11. safety pins
  12. scissors
  13. tape measure
  14. band aids
  15. hand sanitizer, I added this for this year with all the flu fears.
  16. Tylenol, tums, allergy medication and whatever other meds you might need.
  17. paper towels and/or baby wipes
  18. tissues
  19. breath mints, for all the obvious reasons.
  20. water
  21. Snacks
  22. trash bag to dispose of your messes
  23. calculator
  24. receipt book
  25. credit card receipts
  26. credit card machine
  27. cash, I usually bring $100 in cash.
  28. cash apron, I prefer to keep my cash on me rather in a cash box that could walk away when I turn around.
  29. signs, I make up signs with prices and I have a sign that says I take credit cards.
  30. Booth banner. Have some kind of banner that says who you are.
  31. Table cloth, I put a sheet beneath my table cloth so that it goes to the ground and covers my stuff under the table.
  32. Table. I have a fold up table for those events that don't provide them. Find out for sure ahead of time if you need to bring your own.
  33. Display items. I've already talked about these types of things.
  34. Stool, I prefer a stool rather than a chair. When I used a fold up chair I felt too low to the ground and couldn't keep an eye on everything.
  35. rug if needed. Since finding out I'm going to be in the outdoor big tent at Strange Folk I've decided to use my bamboo rug under my quilt racks so that things don't get muddy.
  36. Extra shoes in case of rain/mud
  37. Extra clothes in case of emergencies
  38. Mirror, I'm always amazed at how many vendors forget this one and ask to borrow mine.
  39. Shopping bags of some sort. Paper lunch bags can work for small purchases.
  40. Tools to "fix things", if you make jewelry bring some extra findings just in case.
  41. Something to work on if things are slow. I personally have a hard time knitting but many people like to keep busy.
  42. cell phone, never know when you'll need it.
  43. camera, so you can take lots of pictures of your booth for your blog!
Let me know if you think of anything I missed. I hope it helps someone who sees something that might have forgotten.


A few More Pieces of the Craft Show Puzzle.

I didn't get nearly as much done this weekend as I had hoped. I was feeling very lethargic for some reason. Thank goodness I have 3 days off this week so that I can get everything ready for Strange Folk this weekend. I can't believe that it's almost here. I went ahead and booked a hotel room for Saturday night. It's less than an hour away and last year I just came home but I decided it would be much more enjoyable if I had a place to crash Saturday night. I will have to be there by 8:00 a.m. Saturday, work all day, and then get up Sunday to do it all again. Mike and Kai are going to come down later on Saturday & spend the night too, so it will be nice to have someone to help me this year.

My sister and law, Gray Eyed Scorpio, and her family are staying at the same hotel as well as one of Mike's best friend's Brian Katcher. They are having a local author booth this year and Brian will be promoting his current Young Adult novel Playing with Matches and his new one that comes out in October Almost Perfect.

So what have I gotten accomplished so far you might ask. Strange Folk has a rule that you can't use plastic bags so I decided to create some personal shopping bags for my customers. I bought some Kraft paper bags and ribbon with a coupon at Michaels. I used my logo stamp that I got from Terbearco on Etsy awhile ago. I think the bags came out cute. I'll probably stamp some paper sandwich bags for smaller purchases as well.

It's not a great picture above but the backdrop is a cool fabric that I got for a few dollars on that other E site. It's a burlap type material that I'm going to use as a tablecloth with a cream sheet beneath it that goes to the floor. Thanks to my friend Kristin from My Art and the Mom in Me for the idea to use burlap in my display for a natural and rustic effect.

So this week I need to get everything tagged and inventoried. I also need to get everything I'll need for the weekend packed up and ready to go. Wish me luck!



This post may or may not be of much interest to anyone but myself but one of the purposes of this blog if a place for me to process my thoughts about my little business. Yesterday I was analyzing my sold listings to see what if anything I could gleam from what has been successful in my shop. What got me thinking was a post I saw from the Indie CEO about how we spend our advertising dollars. She talked about knowing who are customers are and figuring out different ways to target them. She also gave some specific ideas for particular crafters. Here are her thoughts on knitters:
  • Handmade hats, crochet, knitted, felted-cold climates, cold weather sports gatherings, colleges/universities.
This got me thinking about who my target customer is and made me want to see exactly where my sales have come from and what I have sold the most. I can say with certainty that the 2 scarves I have pictured here are my most popular items. The sari silk at the top I have sold 4 times on-line and have sold at least that many at craft shows. The green one has sold twice on-line and has sold at every craft show I've ever done. I'm so sad that Hobby Lobby discontinued this yarn, I bought it out in green and several other colors when it was on clearance. You can tell from the pictures that they are from early on in my business. I used to use props in all of my pictures. I still like the way they look but it is so time consuming and I realized that I needed more consistency in my shop.
So here is what I learned from my research. From my 79 on-line sales I have sold to 26 states, 4 sales to Canada, and 1 to the UK. Of these 17 were from what I consider warm weather states (FL, CA, Hawaii, TX, AZ). I have had 13 sales to MO, the most of any state, which makes sense because a number of those were to people that I knew or had been referred to me. The others were a mix. Here are the top places: CA-7, FL-4, IL-4, MS-4, NY-4, TX-4, WA-4, and Canada-4.

I don't know exactly what this information tells me. I have had a string of sales from CA and FL which got me thinking that it might be because fewer people knit or no someone who knits in the warmer climate areas. It does still get cool in these areas so I thought about trying to target some of my fashion scarves in these areas. But I know that people in Canada and colder states are going to have more appreciation for my work so if I'm going to do any on-line advertising it should probably be directed there.

In terms of inventory online I've sold 43 scarves, 12 scarflettes, 8 headbands, 9 wristcuffs, 2 barrettes, 1 bridal party jewelry set, and 1 necklace on-line. Obviously I need to stick with what works and not muddy up my shop. I'm going to continue to list interesting scarves and scarflettes. I will continue to make wristcuffs and headbands to list as well. I'm not going to showcase them as much and I don't think I'm going to bother to bring the headbands to my shows. The necklaces and barrettes were not received so well and will be phased out.

I will hopefully find a way to use this information. For now it's just kind of my rambling thoughts. If you have any thoughts on this research please share.


Now for Some Macro

I thought I would share a few of my favorite closeups from the weekend. I do so love using the macro setting on my camera. It's so important to capture the details and I think a good macro shot is crucial for a good listing on-line. Macro helps the customer to reach out and touch your item in a way. Since they can't really touch it when shopping on-line, as I discussed in this post previously, than we need to help them get an idea of what it would feel like in their hands.

I really love the above scarf. It's made with Noro, my favorite yarn brand. I used what I call my "mistake" stitch. I saw something like it in a magazine on a sweater and I figured out how to get the look through dropped stitches. It gives a ripped or grungey effect that I like. The close up on the black and white scarf shows the drapiness and fullness of the scarf is I think.

This pink and white scarf was a bit of a departure for me. It was done in a simple lace pattern with the white and pink yarns that resemble lace themselves. There is a great shimmer to the yarn that I hope I captured in the shot.

I've started bringing some expired listings back from the dead and listed the cream scarf from yesterday. I'll list some more new items tonight. It was fun to actually list something new for the first time in at least 4 months. I actually got over 30 views on it last night and 1 heart which was a pleasant surprise.


Fall Scarves Are Here!

I actually managed to get some pictures taken this weekend. The weather cooperated and I spent several hours on the screened in back porch clicking away. There were periodically neighbors outside enjoying the weather and they shot a few strange glances my way but it didn't slow me down. Mike and I tend to be a bit standoffish with our neighbors which is something I've been trying to change. I think we are seen as quite but a little odd by most of them to be honest.

I'll be starting to list some items this week and will hopefully get my shop filled up before the cool weather hits. I like how the top shot turned out. It's a real statement piece and I think the drama comes through. This next one is another favorite. It was my first attempt to felt a scarf and it ended up shorter than I expected. So I cut a few button holes and added the ceramic buttons and called it a wrap. The colors really pop in this shot.

I kept the photo shoot simple. I used my new fancy tripod that was a gift and it helped tremendously. I usually waste so much time setting my camera down, focusing, and then making sure I'm holding the camera still. With the tripod I could click and then start walking around to set up my next shot. I didn't get too fancy with my shots either. I used my mannequins and got at least two different angles of each scarf and then a few macro shots of the details. This gave me at least 4 shots of each item. I did still end up taking too many shots but I know that sometimes colors wash out or something gets off so if I like an angle I will take a couple just to be safe. With the tripod I noticed how slow my shutter speed actually is on my camera. I've never noticed the seconds in between shots before since I'm usually using that time to make sure my hands are steady.

I spent the rest of the day on Saturday going through the pictures, picking the 4 or 5 that I'll use for each scarf and deleting the rest. I then cropped them to a square and brightened them up a bit with my camera software editing tool. I sometimes use GIMP if I need to do something more intricate with a picture, like change the size, but for the most part my Canon Powershot software is easy to use and sufficient for my editing needs.

Stay tuned for more about my new Fall inventory. I used that term this weekend with a friend and she laughed. She said it always sounds funny when I say my inventory, but hey it's business baby!


9-11 Memories

Eight years ago today I was in the middle of the busiest year of my life. I was working full time, doing 10-15 hours a week of counseling practicum, and taking 2 graduate classes. The morning of 9-11 I was doing my practicum at a substance abuse facility. I was standing outside having a smoke (I quit not too long after this) with a fellow graduate student. We were complaining about how tired we were and laughing about a story one of her clients had told her. Another counselor came outside, saw us laughing, and said "you guys haven't heard yet, have you?"

We got pieces of the story from her and I then had to go into a room full of addicts that I was co-leading in a group and tell them what I knew. So there are around 20 women out there whose memory of where they were when they heard involves being in rehab and hearing me stumble around for words.

Sometime that week I read the following article and it expressed exactly what I was feeling and thinking during that time about the events that changed all of our lives. I still get goosebumps when I read it because it brings me back to that stressful moment and all the craziness that went with those first few weeks.

An Open Letter to the Terrorists
by Leonard Pitts, Jr

Published Wednesday, September 12, 2001
in The Miami Herald

It's my job to have something to say.

They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.

You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard.

What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.

Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.

Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.

Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.

Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae - a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though - peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God.

Some people - you, perhaps - think that any or all of this makes us weak. You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.


Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We're still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history of the world. You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before.

But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.

I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future.

In the days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.


You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold.

As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.

So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're capable of. You don't know what you just started.

But you're about to learn.

The Miami Herald


Sales Dance!

I had my first Etsy sale in 5 months the other day. It was encouraging to know that people are still somehow finding me in the sea of Etsy sellers. I was getting so discouraged that I had been considering closing up shop and just focusing on craft shows but I do think it's important to have some on-line presence. If nothing else it's like a portfolio of your work to direct people. I'm still seriously looking at other options like Artfire and expanding my 1000 Market's shop as it continues to grow.

I have literally hundreds of scarves in my inventory that are unphotographed and unlisted. I really need to get my butt in gear and take pictures the next 2 weekends. After that I'm going to be tagging my inventory and it's so much harder to get decent pictures once there is a price tag getting in the way. A friend gave me a very nice tripod that he wasn't using so that should help. I'm also going to get Kai to help me since I think having 2 sets of hands will make it go much faster. Having to set the shot up and style it takes so much time and going back and forth gets tiring. Hopefully the effort will be worth it in Fall sales.


Random Tuesday, or Not so Wordless Wednesday

I'm making progress but let's just say I'm not ready to post any after pictures yet of my room. I'm taking some days off from work to get my life in order and do some things that I let slide in the craziness of the summer at work. You can now see most of the floor in my craft room which is major step in the right direction. I have 5 bags of crap in my car to take to Goodwill tomorrow, some of it is just being returned from whence it came. I also have 4 boxes of craft supplies set aside for the Upcycle Exchange at Strange Folk in a few weeks.

On a different subject my very special nephew Kai is in search of a hobby. Like many adopted kids he has some attachment issues and right now he is interested in just about anything that Mike and I are into. He wants Mike to teach him the guitar, play Dungeons and Dragons with the guys, and for Mike to take him golfing. This weekend he and I really bonded over taking pictures on the farm and I discovered he has a good eye for composition. I think that photography is something that he could be relatively good at pretty quickly and would combine his creative side with his technical side. He's very good with technology and was actually showing me a few things about how my camera worked after playing with it for a few hours.

I've included some pictures he took around the farm. He likes old and rusty things just like I do but he also captured his sister with the farm cat and the new baby cow feeding quite nicely. He's turning 14 in a few weeks and my Mom and I are going to go in together to get him a decent camera. I don't want to spend any more than $200 and I want it to be something with all the standard features. I'm most familiar with Canon Powershot myself and I'm thinking the PowerShot SD1200 IS might be a good choice. It's got good reviews and looks pretty compact. His Dad is a Nikon guy so when I talked to Kai about it he wanted to look into those also. Any thoughts or suggestions for a beginner camera with features for a budding photographer to grow with would be appreciated.


Not so relaxing Labor Day

I'm feeling absolutely overwhelmed right now. I'm having my friend Tif, who is a professional organizer of Your Life Organized, come over this afternoon to help me get my world under control. My craft room is in complete disorder and I'm not prepared for the start of the Fall crafting season. I have some ideas and we've talked about how I can better structure my space. I would also like to make room for a twin bed in here for guests if needed. I have to keep telling myself that this is her job and that she's seen far worse than my messes. She's the least judgemental person I've ever known and she's so good at her job that I know I'm freaking out for nothing.

I'm including a few relaxing fishing pictures from the weekend at the farm with the kids. I'll talk more about our adventures later when I have a calmer head.


Labor Day Shopping!

There are lots of great deals on-line and in stores this weekend for Labor Day. Really, what better way to celebrate Labor Day than spending some of your hard earned money! Here are some of my favorites:

If you are a big girl like me and yet still like to wear quirky and cool clothes than you should check out Torrid's Clearance sale. All clearance is marked 50% off through Monday so you can stock up on tops, hoodies, sweaters, and leggings. If you sign up for a Divastyle account you can use the code BDAY09T and get $10 off your first order.

I just got my weekend Michael's coupons with both a 40% and 50% off single item which you should be able to print here. Use them to buy some supplies you've been coveting.

Etsy also has a Labor Day weekend sales gift guide you can shop from or you can search for labor day and find all kinds of great deals on handmade that way.

We'll be heading to the farm with Mike's Mom, Kai and Ani for the weekend. It will be kind of weird without the girls there but I'm sure we'll have plenty of adventures without them. Hope you have a great weekend however you celebrate!


Three Passions

I have a heavy heart today for reasons that I can't really go into here. While perusing one of my favorite uplifting blogs, Live Passionately, I found this poem that really spoke to me. Above is a barely visible rainbow that I tried to catch from the deck of the ship this summer.
Bertrand Russell:

Three passions have governed my life:
The longings for love, the search for knowledge,
And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].

Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness.
In the union of love I have seen
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge.
I have wished to understand the hearts of [people].
I have wished to know why the stars shine.

Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens,
But always pity brought me back to earth;
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart
Of children in famine, of victims tortured
And of old people left helpless.
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot,
And I too suffer.

This has been my life; I found it worth living.



Fall Craft Show To Do List

Strange Folk, my first craft show of the season, is now less than a month away. I'm sure there are some of you who are in the same boat. For those of you doing shows for the first time I thought I would share my own to do list. Most of these are things I've already completed so if they are already off my list I will explain what I've done. I think every to do list should have things on it that are easily checked off to start the momentum. I'm not sure why I chose the above shot to depict this post. I was just looking for something I've never used before and it jumped out at me on this chilly morning. The Indigo Girls scarf is still for sale in my Etsy shop.

  1. The first step is obviously finding the craft shows you would like to apply to. I talked about how to find craft shows in your area and how I pick my shows out in this post. I have now applied to 4 shows and received word that I'm into 2 of them. The other 2 don't release their juried list until September. There is one more that I am going to apply to in December whose application just came out this week. I'm still thinking about doing a small local show but haven't picked one out yet. These shows are less likely to be juried so I'm not as worried about applying late.
  2. The next big step is getting your display materials and doing a rough draft of your display. I recently posted here with my rough draft. It's important to set your display up ahead of time to better see the big picture. It will help you to see if there are any display pieces that stick out or don't go with the rest of your display as I discovered with my hand pieces. You may want to paint some of your items to help get a more cohesive look. Be sure to do this plenty ahead of time so that they have time to get fully dry.
  3. Make or order a banner. It's really important to have something that says who you are and sets the tone for your display. I talked here about my new banner and where I got it. If you have artistic abilities you can make one like my sister in law, the Gray Eyed Scorpio described in this post.
  4. Get your table covering. This is one I'm still working on. Last year I used a striped brown and tan tablecloth and I have a green tablecloth but I don't think I'm going to use either. I'm looking for something more earthy and natural, possibly burlap or bamboo to go with the feel of my booth this year. You don't want to get too crazy with your table covering as it shouldn't distract from your items. Do find something long or put a sheet under your table cloth that goes to the floor to hide your clutter under the table.
  5. Figure out how you are going to accept credit cards. I think that it's vital to have a method of accepting plastic. You are missing out on so many sales if you just take cash and checks. I use Propay and it's super easy and very reasonable. I just renewed my membership and it was around $30 for a year which is so worth it. I use a knuckle buster that I got from Mr. Imprinter on Ebay. I actually just bought a new one since the one I had last year was super tough for me to get a good imprint on. I'm much happier with this hand held model that came in a kit with an imprinter plate and 100 sales slips, everything you need to get started for around $25.
  6. Stock up on business cards. I recently bought 1000 cards from Vista Print with one of their many coupons for around $15. I have heard that some people had bad experiences with them but I've put in 3 different orders and never had a problem. You have to be careful to opt out of all of their silly promotions and you will get spam e-mails from them but I'm okay with that for such a good price on a business necessity. I've also been thinking about ordering some postcards to use as follow up with some of my return customers.
  7. Organize and tag your inventory. This is one that I definitely have not completed yet. I do have my inventory separated into different tubs by type but that is the extent of my organization. I think that I'm going to continue to use my business cards as price tags this year. Last year I hand wrote on the back of the cards the price, fiber content, and washing instructions, very tedious process indeed. This year I'm going to do labels to stick on the back with this information. I have 3 days off before Strange Folk and this is my main priority for those days.
These are the things that I've been thinking about and working on. As the first show gets closer I'll update you on the things that need to be done at that point, including my list of things you should always have in your tool kit on the day of the show. Doing shows is still somewhat new and exciting to me. I think of them as another creative outlet for me. It's a good thing that I still enjoy doing them since they provide the majority of the financial return on my knitting.

(c) Lenox Knits, 2009|Created by NSD